Tips for avoiding fundraiser turnover from the U.S. Naval Academy

Mike Hoffman, Naval Academy, on EverTrue's TrueTalk

Managing a team isn’t for everyone. Some of the best fundraisers, prospect researchers, or data scientists just want to be super-excellent individual contributors. And for the folks who do aspire to lead a team, what needs to shift in order to make room for their own production expectations and their coach-mentor responsibilities?

On this episode of TrueTalk, host Mike Nagel chats with Mike Hoffman, Vice President of Development at the US Naval Academy. Mike^2 share some valuable advice for advancement leaders on how to avoid fundraiser turnover and make sure your best performers don’t get stalled out in a middle-management role.

(un)Stuck in the Middle

In many advancement shops, if you’re a fundraiser and you want to move up, that means taking on employee management responsibilities. And for some fundraisers, the team management role is right in line with their career aspirations. 

But, as Mike Hoffman points out, those middle management roles aren’t always well-planned, well-aligned, or well-resourced – which means that sometimes moving your best fundraisers into middle-management positions could actually hinder their growth and performance.

Mike shares his advice on how to ensure that high-performing members of the team have an actionable path forward in your organization – either into a management position that makes space for new leadership responsibilities, or into a more senior individual contributor role. 

There are a few key points to coaching your team into successful growth plans. Here’s a snapshot of Mike’s advice for advancement leaders that want to coach, grow, and retain their team:

  1. Ask the people on your team what they love doing. Compare it with what they’re good at. Have an honest conversation about how the convergence of those two things can point towards a career path at your institution.
  2. For the folks on your team who do aspire to move into a management role, you can be a true advocate for their success by helping to clear space on their plates for the new team management responsibilities. This can include removing manual tasks like expense reports, travel itineraries, and prospecting. (Coughcough – EverTrue can help with this.)
  3. Build individual growth plans with each member of your team with 3 months, 6 month, 1 year, and 5 year goals. Putting it on paper will mean you’re on the same page (literally) and everyone can see a clear path to successful tenure.
  4. Never stop listening. Being a good leader for your team means that you need to know where your people are actually at and where they really want to go. Taking the time to listen and build a path forward could be the difference between growing a long-term contributor at your organization, and the “surprise” of losing them to another organization.

Catch a quick clip of Mike’s TrueTalk wisdom below, or tune into the full conversation here

We’re passionate about solving the problem of gift officer turnover through tech tools that automate manual tasks and keep fundraisers focused on what they love doing: building relationships.
Get in touch with our team to learn more!

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